Dedham Branch milestone

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Dedham Branch milestone

Postby The EGE » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:25 am

While hiking along the former Dedham Branch yesterday, I discovered near Fairview Street a milestone that reads:

B.
48
Km
29.82
M

I cannot for the life of me figure out what this means. The stone is about 10 rail miles from downtown Boston. The distance isn't right for the B to be Blackstone either. Was this a stone from elsewhere that was moved?
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby neman2 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 5:36 pm

I have never seen a milepost with kilometers on it. ? ? Did you get a picture?
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby dbperry » Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:09 pm

I checked the conversion, and it's correct. 48 km is 29.82 miles.

Then I spent a few minutes with Google and found a reference to it in:

MIXED TRAIN TO PROVIDENCE: A HISTORY OF THE BOSTON AND PROVIDENCE RAIL ROAD, THE TAUNTON BRANCH RAIL ROAD, AND CONNECTING LINES, WITH EMPHASIS ON MANSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS
HARRY B. CHASE, JR.
MANSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS
2006

http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/findaid ... 37_007.pdf

From page 77 (page 88 of the PDF):

We learn from a secondary source[38] that when Captain William Gibbs McNeill built the
railroad he set the kilometer-posts along the way. If we assume, despite some circumstantial
evidence to the contrary, that this was so, we must ask “Why?” It‟s possible that through his West
Point education or his visit abroad, McNeill became quite properly enamored of the un-American
but more practical kilometers instead of miles. The metric system was not entirely foreign to the
United States. The U. S. Coast Survey in the early 1800s used meters and kilograms, and
Presidents Jefferson and John Quincy Adams favored adoption of the system. It was
unquestionably the way to go, and it's a pity succeeding generations didn't follow the lead of
whoever introduced kilometer posts on the Boston and Providence. The story is that pressure
brought to bear by the conservative public or the railroad‟s board of directors unfortunately forced
the newfangled and unacceptably foreign kilometer markers to be uprooted and replaced by
mileposts. But not all were uprooted!
One kilometer post still existed in 1982 in Readville on the Dedham Branch. It read:
B.
48
Km
29.82
M.
This marker and its location were first reported by Jim Zwicker.[39] It appears to be in the
wrong place: the mileage from Boston ("B") suggests that it was moved from the main line
somewhere just north of Attleborough, perhaps by a history-conscious employe who recognized it
as an artifact worth saving, maybe after it had been uprooted by a track gang.


Now I have an interesting book to read....

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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby The EGE » Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:53 am

Wow! Thank you for that - it's exactly what I was wondering about!

Here's my photo from Saturday:
Image
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:01 am

That's rad. Where did you begin and end your hike of the branch? Did you get down to Readville at all?
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby The EGE » Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:54 pm

I actually started the day off the 34E, got pictures of Dedham Corporate Center and Endicott, joined the branch just east of Dedham Center, and followed it all the way to River Street. Except for one filled overpass and the section where it's been turned into the school parking lot / driveway, it's a nice walk the whole way. East of River Street, I wouldn't recommend going - it quickly runs into Readville 5-Yard.

The relevant categories on Wikimedia Commons are largely my photographs:
Dedham Branch
Readville
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby highgreen215 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:00 am

If you had explored this ROW further beyond Dedham toward West Roxbury, you might have discovered another mile/kilometer stone where the roadbed parallels Belle Ave. I and a couple of fellow rail fans saw it about 10 years ago - I have pictures of it but they are in a misplaced chip right now. This stone, too, was obviously misplaced as the distances indicated didn't jibe with reality. A couple of years ago portions of the ROW and in this area were put up for sale by the MBTA so now the granite post, if it is still there, is on private property - not sure if it is still accessible.

Continue on the abandoned ROW to where it joins the active Needham Branch by WEST ROXBURY station and just past ROSLINDALE there is another granite milepost by Bussey Bridge (site of the famous Bussey Bridge wreck). It's not easy to access so I don't know if it is also in kilometers. There is another genuine mile/kilometer post which was removed from under the Sprague Street bridge at Readville when it was rebuilt a few years ago. It is by the bridge, on the surface, at the corner of Sprague St. and Milton St.
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:02 pm

The ROW would be impossible to walk through West Roxbury as they've built homes literally on the ROW over the last 10 years.
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby dbperry » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:53 pm

Another one popped up in Readville and caught the attention of Adam Gaffin:

http://www.universalhub.com/2016/readvi ... -far-south
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Re: Dedham Branch milestone

Postby Arborwayfan » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:34 am

The mile post by Bussey Bridge was put there after the Needham Line reopened in 1987. No km on it, as far as I remember.

There had been a pile post more or less there before; my mom and I and some of my friends walked to it when I was little and the line was closed down in the early 80s. (Tracks were gone but there was no construction going on, so it was a nice and safe place to walk, if not perhaps quite legal, certainly not trespassing on the railroad _tracks_.) I think when they put the post "back" they got mixed up and put in the wrong one. I was there at the unveiling ceremony on the 100th anniversary of the Bussey Bridge wreck, and I noticed that the miles were wrong. I read the original stone several times and I think it said B 5, which would be about right; it's 5.5 or 6 miles to South Station, and the B and P's original terminal was not quite so far downtown as South Station, right? I only saw the one they put "back" that one time, but I know it said something in the teens; I think it said B 13 or B 14, but I'm not sure. I suspect they took out a couple during the project and just got confused. I pointed it out that day, but I was a 13 year old kid (and the post was already installed) and no one paid any attention.

There was a bit of a ceremony that day. I think that at the bridge (next to the milepost, in fact) a local guy named Michael King read a poem about the wreck and the new bridge. (It had a line about how it was the last bridge by that particular designer around there; the big one at Forest Hills was by the same designer but "they shoved dynamite down her gut" Afterwards, there were cookies and a program and the brass plaque that's on the bridge now in the Roslindale public library. A nice little local history event.
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